Every time I pass through a gym I see people doing so many different exercises for each muscle group which for me only makes the workouts more complicated, if you are one of those guys or girls who do a bunch of exercises for each muscle group but, you´re doing them for a reason, and you understand why then that´s great but, many people don´t understand why they´re doing certain things a certain way, they just follow some workout they found on the internet or the one that some friend recommended them.
In the last posts we talked about bodyweight exercises now let’s talk about compound movements which along with bodyweight exercises are really helpful to get an amazing physique and improve overall fitness and strength.
Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles at the same time which gives us the opportunity to lift more weight. The more weight we can lift, the stronger we get, and we gain more muscle (considering that our food program is right). This type of exercises have a lot of benefits including lowering the risk of injuries (considering that we don´t let our ego get in the way), we can do more in less time but it doesn´t mean that it´s going to be easy and we keep things simple.
Performing compound movements with free weights (barbells or dumbbells) is the best option even when we can´t lift the same amount of weight compared to gym machines or other equipment.
My approach to training is old school, sticking with a few basic exercises with high weight and low reps and adjusting some variables according to the goal you´re working on. Since compound exercises are multi-joint movements, you can lift more weight, so they are the perfect option to lift more weight in a low rep range.
Compound movements also require balance and coordination so as you keep increasing the weight your performance will improve too.
When you are using compound movements it is simple and effective but it doesn´t mean it´s easy. And since you´re working with low reps and high weight things get harder meaning maximum muscle recruitment and high nervous-system activation this is the right stimuli for muscle growth and strength. Here you need to consider recovery, which is as important as your workouts, the central nervous system needs more time to recover so you can´t train the same muscle group 2 days continuously.
If your goal is fat loss, you can stay with bodyweight and compound exercises and focus on low rep ranges around 8 to 10 and make sure that you maintain strength so that you maintain muscle mass.
You don´t need to do a lot of different exercises for each muscle group, keep what works and eliminate what doesn´t work. If you focus on key movements, you can build a great physique that is useful, there´s no reason to look great if you can´t perform great. Your goal is to improve body composition and build a physique you are proud of and that is useful for daily activities at your home or your job.
If you´re starting your weight loss journey and you have a lot of weight to lose you can start with bodyweight exercises only as I mentioned on the last post (click here to read that post), once you´ve lost some weight and you feel comfortable you can buy some dumbbells and a bench to start with compound exercises if you still don´t feel comfortable going to a gym. Exercises like squats, bench press and dumbbell or barbell rows are great options. Focus on maintaining good posture and avoid injuries. We´ll talk about all this on future posts so make sure you don´t lose any post.
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